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Thaïsa Way

Director of Garden and Landscape Studies


Thaïsa Way is the Director of Garden and Landscape Studies (GLS), Dumbarton Oaks. She is responsible for leading the programming for GLS including the residential fellowship program, scholarly visitors and events, and senior fellow meetings. She has deep knowledge of Dumbarton Oaks, appreciation for its importance to her field (the garden and Beatrix Farrand, the designer, were a focus of her first book), and affection for it as an institution from having served two terms as a senior fellow.

Way holds a PhD from Cornell University, a Master of Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and a BS from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, as well as an urban landscape historian teaching and researching history, theory, and design in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle. Prior to coming to Dumbarton Oaks, Way served as founding director of Urban@UW, a coalition of urban researchers and teachers collaboratively addressing complex urban challenges, and as Chair of Faculty Senate at the University of Washington.

Way has published and lectured on feminist histories of landscape architecture and public space in cities. Her book, Unbounded Practices: Women, Landscape Architecture, and Early Twentieth Century Design (University of Virginia Press, 2009) was awarded the J. B. Jackson Book Award in 2012. A second book, From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design: The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag (University of Washington Press, 2015) explores the narrative of post-industrial cities and the practice of landscape architecture. She has edited two books in urban environmental history and practice including Now Urbanism (Routledge, 2013) with Jeff Hou, Ken Yocom, and Ben Spencer, and an edited collection titled River Cities, City Rivers (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2018). Most recently her book GGN: 1999-2018 (Timber Press, 2018) was published as a monograph on the important work of the landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, who served as the landscape architects for the National Museum of African American History and Culture among other important public projects.  Dr. Way lately completed the monograph, Landscape Architect A.E. Bye: Sculpting the Earth, Modern Landscape Design Series (Norton Publishing, forthcoming).